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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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 Post subject: 1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
PostPosted: September 2nd, 2017, 9:46 am 
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Evening All,

In my workbench window thread I have made reference to this model, but realised that I had not posted anything on it here, so if you are wondering, here it is. This is the largest scratch build that I have attempted to date (the span is approximately 15 inches, (37cm, and length 8 inches, (20cm), I had to make a new fuselage because the first attempt was a minor disaster, because I did not take correct measurements from the drawings. If you look carefully at the fuselage you will see why it can easily catch out the unwary! It is an unusual machine and not one that I have seen often, and not in this scale either. There is a vacform kit available, (if you can find one), in 1/144 scale. It is made from the usual scratch builders materials, ie plastic card of various thicknesses, rod, strip, acetate, wood for the propellors and copper wire for the rigging and control cables. The markings were printed on my home computer. The wing was made from laminated 60 thou card in two sections butt joined in the centre and reinforced with metal pins, the fuselage is made from three box structures on formers, and the wheels were made from card discs with rod tyres. The lack of windscreen reflects the original aircraft: apparently the pilots wanted to be able to get out of the craft quickly if it crashed! In fact this and successor machines proved to be very airworthy and strong and full windscreens were fitted on the later examples. There is a full build log on Airfix Tribute Forum scratch builds if anyone wants to follow my mistakes.

If you have never heard of this machine, take heart because nor had I until I came across it about a year ago when I was looking up information on some of the less well known German Giant aircraft of 1915 -1918.

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The Siemens-Schuckert Rs. 1 Riesenflugzeug (R-plane, giant aircraft), was the product of Bruno and Franz Steffen who were engineers who had built small monoplanes at their factory near Kiel, and wanted to build a large multi-engined transport aircraft because they believed that these and not airships would be the future of air transport. In October 1914 they were able to put their ideas to the aviation inspectorate in Berlin. The appearance of Sikorsky's four-engined Grand in 1913 had had a profound effect on nascent air ministries throughout the world and while building a large airframe was straightforward, finding suitably powerful and reliable engines was an altogether different matter.

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The Steffen brothers' factory was too small to undertake the construction of the large project that they proposed, so Siemens-Schuckert Werke (SSW) were asked to undertake the construction.The machine was designed by the Steffen brothers and the R1 made its maiden flight on May 24 1915. It was powered by three 150 hp Benz Bz. III engines which were mounted in the nose and connected to a common gearbox. Two drive shafts were coupled to the propellors via hear housings mounted on the struts between the wings. This allowed a mechanic to be able to service the engines when in flight: communication between the pilots and the mechanic was by written notes as the noise levels were so great.

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The aircraft had a steel tubing framework for the fuselage, the wings were from wood, and both were covered in fabric except for the nose which was partially covered in aluminium panels. The tail wheels were steerable and the whole machine weighed 5 tons. One early recurring problem was the failure of the propellor drive shafts, usually the universal joint near the struts. This was solved by adding stiffener tubes fore and aft of the transmission shafts.

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The R 1 made 24 orientation flights before it was handed to the air force for further evaluation and testing. On early August 1915 the machine had just taken off on a training flight when all three engines failed causing the machine to hit the ground from about 8 meters: the crew were fortunately unharmed but the aircraft wear severely damaged. It was returned to the SSW factory and rebuilt.

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In the summer of 1915 a new Sonderkommando (special unit) was formed to operate with second generation giant aircraft: there was much to be learned about operating and flying these very large machines. The R1 was returned to Poland and used for further testing and training but was not considered reliable enough to be risked on actual bombing raids. It was badly damaged again inn March 1916 when being returned to Berlin when the airframe hit the side of a tunnel because the track bed had had moved.

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It was repaired again and sent to Doberitz as a training aircraft where it continued training pilots and flight mechanics: in 1917 it was recorded as having completed 97 training flights and 26 crew orientation flights. This machine had a longer service record than any other R type and no other centrally powered R-plane was as successful as the SSW R planes - a tribute to the Steffen brothers and their co-workers at SSW.

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Six more SSW R-types were built, all of them had a re-designed and better streamlined nose, with a gun position in the front. The 150 hp Benz Bz III engines of the R1 were to be replaced by more powerful 240 hp Maybach HS engines but these proved to be seriously problematical and so either Mercedes D IV or Benz IV engines were fitted. Because the Benz engines were less powerful and the Mercedes engines were heavier than the Maybach's it was decided to increase the span of the wings of some machines to increase lift.

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On the R VII the span reached its maximum of 38m with 6 bay wings but this caused the handling characteristics to deteriorate. The RV certainly carried out some bombing raids on the Eastern Front: the other machines were sent to the same front for training and evaluation purposes before either crashing and being written off or returning to Germany where they were used for training.

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These machines gave invaluable service in helping ground personnel and aircrews experience in operating large, complex aircraft from airfields in wartime conditions, and in flying multi-engined aircraft. Although their front line operations were very limited, they were nonetheless pioneers in a new branch of strategic warfare.

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Thanks for looking.


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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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 Post subject: Re: 1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
PostPosted: September 2nd, 2017, 1:29 pm 
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Another superb build and description, thank you!

That fuselage is really unconventional, even for those times.

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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2017, 1:33 pm 
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:shock: Crikey that's.... unusual!. Amazing work though, well done. I've just comment on another thread about not modelling aircraft from a Squadron's early years due to no kits. This seems to have kicked me up the you know what to make them myself!!. :grin:

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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2017, 4:55 pm 
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An excellent build of what looks like a most difficult model to make.


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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2017, 7:51 pm 
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What a trippy looking airplane. Thanks for sharing.

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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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 Post subject: Re: 1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
PostPosted: September 3rd, 2017, 12:33 am 
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Now that is REAL modelling. Superb work and very educational as it's not a type I have ever heard of.

All the best.

Greg

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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 3rd, 2017, 4:03 am 
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Great model, and nice history lesson. Those brothers were certainly thinking outside the norm.

Nigel


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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 3rd, 2017, 4:06 pm 
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A brilliant model of an ugly aircraft.Well tidy indeed.


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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 10th, 2017, 6:09 pm 
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My hats off to scratchbuilding a whole model!
I´m far too lazy to ever do that!

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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 11th, 2017, 8:25 am 
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Those were the days - when you could service the engines, standing on the wing, in flight!
Brilliant, unusual, interesting! What more could you ask?

Very well done!

David


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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 11th, 2017, 6:43 pm 
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Thanks to all who have dropped by and left such encouraging remarks. I do like the unusual or less well known types as many of you will know from former posts.

As I keep writing scratch building is more a case of overcoming hesitation to start and give something a try than needing a large amount of skill. Many modellers who add extra detail could just as easily build their own model if they wanted to.


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1/72 scaratch built Siemens Schuckert Werke SSW Rs I
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PostPosted: September 12th, 2017, 5:00 pm 
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Totally marvellous, LM, hats off to you for producing an excellent model of a very esoteric subject. Scratch building like this never fails to impress me, very well done.

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